Screening & Assessment

Screening provides essential information about children’s health or development status, and assessments measure progress toward the standards. 

Policy Choices

  • Screenings and assessment for hearing, vision, metabolic disorders, and developmental delays with appropriate follow-up
  • Timely, appropriate behavioral and mental health identification and intervention including children who come to the attention of the child welfare system
  • Timely and appropriate screeningt, referral, and enrollment in early childhood development and prevention programs
  • Child assessment tools that are formative, as well as developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate
  • Assessment of the quality of learning environments, educator/child interaction, and teaching strategies
  • Statewide kindergarten entry assessment to assess readiness and inform initial instruction
  • Aligned early learning, kindergarten entry, and K-3 assessments

Research

  • Olson, A. L., Dietrich, A. J., Prazar, G., & Hurley, J. (2006). Brief maternal depression screening at well-child visits. Pediatrics, 118(1), 207-216. Available at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/118/1/207.abstract
  • Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University (2009). Maternal Depression Can Undermine the Development of Young Children: Working Paper No. 8. http://www.developingchild.harvard.edu
  • National Research Council. (2008). Early childhood assessment: Why, what, and how. Committee on Developmental Outcomes and assessments for Young Children, C.  E. Snow and S. B. Van Hemel, Eds. Board on Children, Youth, and Families, Board on Testing and Assessment, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12446
  • Halle, T., Zaslow, M., Wessel, J., Moodie, S., and Darling-Churchill, K. (2011). Understanding and Choosing Assessments and Developmental Screeners for Young Children: Profiles of Selected Measures. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/screeners_final.pdf

Facts about Screening and Assessment 

  • Screening provides essential information about whether a child appears to be progressing as expected or if he or she may need additional supports to address special needs or developmental delays. The results of a screening indicate whether an in-depth diagnostic assessment is needed to identify if a child needs specific intervention services.
    - Screenings may also be effective when conducted by pediatricians during well-child visits to detect maternal depression, which can have severe and negative effects on children’s development.[i]
    - When screenings indicate that interventions are needed they typically include the coordination of family members, early educators, and medical or early intervention specialists.[ii]
  • Assessments measure children’s progress towards meeting specified standards and benchmarks of child development.[iii] 
  • Effective assessment systems benefit young children by informing adults and educators about individual children’s strengths and areas of growth, particularly as they transition from early care and education settings to elementary school.

Citations

[i] Olson, A. L., Dietrich, A. J., Prazar, G., & Hurley, J. (2006). Brief maternal depression screening at well-child visits. Pediatrics, 118(1), 207-216.
[i] Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University (2009). Maternal Depression Can Undermine the Development of Young Children: Working Paper No. 8. http://www.developingchild.harvard.edu
[ii] National Research Council. (2008). Early childhood assessment: Why, what, and how. Committee on Developmental Outcomes and assessments for Young Children, C.  E. Snow and S. B. Van Hemel, Eds. Board on Children, Youth, and Families, Board on Testing and Assessment, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
[iii] National Research Council. (2008). Early childhood assessment: Why, what, and how. Committee on Developmental Outcomes and assessments for Young Children, C.  E. Snow and S. B. Van Hemel, Eds. Board on Children, Youth, and Families, Board on Testing and Assessment, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
[iii] Halle, T., Zaslow, M., Wessel, J., Moodie, S., and Darling-Churchill, K. (2011). Understanding and Choosing Assessments and Developmental Screeners for Young Children: Profiles of Selected Measures. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.